Sultry Feeling could head to the 2016 Sapphire Stakes during The Championships after she scored a narrow victory in the Birthday Card Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Sultry Feeling was well backed in the lead-up to the Birthday Card Stakes and jockey Blake Shinn elected to find cover in the early stages of the race before he asked for an extra effort with 400 metres left to run.
The Encosta De Lago mare tired in the final stages, but she was still able to hold-off Lucky Can Be and Perignon in the final stages of the race to score her second straight victory.
Shinn went into the Birthday Card Stakes full of confidence following his victory on Capitalist in the Golden Slipper and he was happy that he could keep the winning run going on Sultry Feeling in the Birthday Card Stakes.
“It has been a fantastic day and it is great to keep the winners going,” Cummings said.
“She did a great job, our intention was to be a little positive, but in the first 50 I just sensed that they were going a little bit fast, so I took a hold of her and came out of the speed battle.
“I ended up in a pretty good spot three deep with cover and I was confident that she has a great finish, so I came out at the 450 with a lap full of horse.
“I go to the front and she stargazed a touch, but she held on and it is great to ride a winner for James Cummings.”
The Birthday Card Stakes victory of Sultry Feeling capped off an outstanding training performance from James Cummings, who elected to give the Encosta De Lago mare a month between runs after her win in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) due to her poor second-up record.
Cummings confirmed that Sultry Feeling will push on to The Championships and he believes that the Sapphire Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 9 could be the right option for the talented mare.
“I think it is a real lesson in planning,” Cummings said.
“The temptation is there when they win like she did first-up and she beat Peeping, but we knew this horse hadn’t fired second-up in three previous preparations and we wanted to do better than that.
“We didn’t draw the gate today and I didn’t get Hughie, but I got Blake Shinn and we were just talking about jockeys that have won majors and how they can focus in a subsequent race.
“He did a very good job because he held her together after they straightened and he didn’t panic early.
“He let her do it under her own steam and I was a little bit nervous when the horses got up on the inside, but she attacked the line.”
Lucky Can Be produced the best performance of her career to date to finish a close second, while Perignon was not disgraced in third.